Local & Regional

Overcrowding Discussed by DOC Board

Jul 26, 2017
Ben Fenwick-Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma’s non-violent, low risk offenders may soon be offered a work release program. The Oklahoma Department of Correction’s Board heard about such a plan at yesterday’s meeting.

The goal of the program is to ease the overcrowding at Oklahoma’s prisons. Officials say the lock-ups right now, are at 108% of capacity.

Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh has said in the past that Oklahoma is setting on a powder keg, because prisons are understaffed and antiquated. 

  

An Oklahoma sheriff is among six people facing manslaughter charges in the 2016 death of an inmate found unresponsive after being tied to a chair.

A grand jury indicted Garfield County Sheriff Jerry Niles and five others who worked at the jail on second-degree manslaughter charges in the death of 58-year-old Anthony Huff.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced the charges Tuesday.

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A former Oklahoma lawmaker who was convicted of embezzlement says he's considering running for an executive office in 2018.

67-year-old Leo Kingston was a first-term senator when he was convicted in 1990 after a federal grand jury indicted him for defrauding the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Kingston served three years of an eight-year sentence.

Kingston returned to real estate after prison and sold his business last year. He now runs a website that deals with commercial real estate and mineral rights.

KWGS News Photo

There is a critical blood shortage and the American Red Cross is putting out the call for donors. Jan Hale with the Red Cross in Tulsa says many people responded to a call earlier this month, but more blood is needed. Summer is a difficult time to keep supplies up because families are on vacation and kids are out of school.

Interested donors can go on-line at RedCross.org or call to make an appointment. Anyone who gives blood between now and August 31st will be mailed a $5 Target e-giftcard.

Facebook Video

   

An Oklahoma elementary school teacher has taken to panhandling for money to buy school supplies for her third-grade classroom.

Teresa Danks sought donations after slumping state revenue led to reduced funding for education in recent years. Danks says she has spent $2,000 to $3,000 of her $35,000 salary on supplies for her students.

With a sign asking for donations and saying "Anything Helps," Danks raised $55 in six minutes standing at an intersection near Interstate 44 in Tulsa.

Mom and Son Remembered at Memorial Service

Jul 25, 2017
Hahn-Cook Funeral Directors

A 14-minute video, set to music, plays at the Life Church in Edmond as a memorial service is held for 40-year-old Erin Van Horn and her 10-year-old son Zack of Jenks.

The two were killed a week ago on Interstate 35, when their car ran into the back of a tractor-trailer rig near Purcell.

Two other people were killed in that SUV crash: 11-year-old Beck Kitterman and 13-year-old Lizzie Edwards. A mass honoring their lives will be tomorrow at Tulsa’s St-Pius Catholic Church.

Hearing Delayed for Suspected Get Away Driver

Jul 25, 2017
Wagoner County Booking Photo

The Preliminary Hearing for 22-year-old Elizabeth Rodriguez is on-hold until this fall. It had been set for today in Wagoner County.

Rodriguez is the suspected get-away driver from a botched home invasion that left three Collinsville area teenagers dead. The crime took place last March at a home east of Broken Arrow along 91st Street South.

The teens had cased the home and did not believe anyone was inside. However, the homeowner’s son was in the house and shot the intruders as they broke into the home.

The new hearing date is September 26th.

In the local news:

  • County leaders disagree on a deal to house city inmates in the county jail.
  • A state trooper dies of injuries in a patrol crash.
  • Charges are filed in a Bristow Police Chase.

Trooper Dies from Injuries Suffered in Chase

Jul 25, 2017
OHP

The State Trooper injured after being struck by a patrol car during a high-speed chase has died. The Patrol announced last night that Lt. Heath Meyer died of his injures suffered in a July 14th incident near Moore.

Meyer was deploying stop-sticks during a high-speed chase when an on-coming patrol cruiser struck him.

Services are pending.

Meyer joined the patrol in 2005.

Charges Filed in Bristow Chase

Jul 25, 2017
Creek County Sheriff

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says a drive-by shooting suspect was shot and wounded by an officer during a police pursuit in northeast Oklahoma.

The OSBI says 25-year-old Shawn Dale Sexton of Bristow was wearing a bullet-resistant vest and suffered minor injuries after being shot and crashing his vehicle into a bridge on Sunday afternoon. He has been charged with five counts of Shooting with the Intend to Kill. 

State of Oklahoma

 

Records show the head of the Environmental Protection Agency spent weekends in his home state during his first three months in office, frequently flying to and from Oklahoma at taxpayer's expense.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's expenses from March through May were released following a Freedom of Information request filed by Environmental Integrity Project, a non-profit watchdog group.

File photo

 

A highway improvement project that recently began in central Oklahoma is aiming to make a portion of the journey on the historic U.S. Route 66 a little smoother.

State transportation officials say a $4 million dollar project that involves resurfacing and shoulder improvements is already in progress.

Road crews are expected to begin repairs to the portion of the highway in and just west of Arcadia by 2018 and move east of the city by 2019.

Kate Carlton-Greer/KGOU

 

More Oklahoma high school students are registering for college courses as funding for the state's concurrent enrollment program shrinks.

The concurrent enrollment program has allowed high school juniors and seniors to earn college credits since 2005. Seniors are also eligible to receive tuition waivers for six credit hours per semester.

Lawton Police

 

An employee of the Lawton jail has been arrested after police say they found marijuana in a diaper she carried into the jail.

The Lawton Constitution reports that the female employee of the Lawton Correctional Facility was arrested Saturday after other employees notified police that the woman had an odor of marijuana on her.

The woman's name has not been released.

Lawton Police Officer Derrick Kuhlman said the woman handed officers a diaper that included a bag containing marijuana. Kuhlman said the diaper had been in the woman's pants.

 

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says a drive-by shooting suspect was shot and wounded by an officer during a police pursuit in northeast Oklahoma.

The OSBI says 25-year-old Shawn Dale Sexton of Bristow was wearing a bullet-resistant vest and suffered minor injuries after being shot and crashing his vehicle into a bridge on Sunday afternoon.

The OSBI says Sexton had fired at one officer while fleeing a drive-by shooting he's suspected of committing in the town of Slick, then shooting at a Bristow officer and hitting the patrol car on Highway 48.

Rocky the Beaver Dies at Aquarium

Jul 24, 2017
Oklahoma Aquarium

 

'Rocky the Beaver' is dead. The beaver died of natural causes over the weekend at the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks. The beaver was found last year in a trap at Grand Lake and was taken to the aquarium

“The report we’ve received from the veterinarian indicates there was an intestinal rupture,” said John Money, Oklahoma Aquarium Curator. “We have no way of knowing what caused the weakness in his intestinal lining, but it was likely an undetectable genetic defect that Rocky had since birth.”

In the local news:

  • Amazon helps, but Tulsa is still suffering from people not paying use tax on internet purchases.
  • A man is in jail after trading shots with Bristow Police.
  • More high heat expected across Green Country.

A half dozen OSBI special agents are investigating an officer-involved shooting in Bristow that occurred Sunday afternoon. Shawn Dale Sexton us accuseds of firing a shot at an officer as he was fleeing a drive-by shooting he had just committed in Slick. Sexton, 25 years old of Bristow, spotted the Bristow officer on Highway 48 and allegedly shot at the officer, hitting his car. The officer gave chase.

As Sexton was fleeing, he shot at a driver who was injured by flying debris. That Missouri man was treated and released from a local hospital.

Tulsa Still Missing On-Line Sales Tax Dollars

Jul 24, 2017
File photo

Brick and mortar stores, Sears, Macys, K-Mart and others have closed stores in Tulsa. This is happening as more-and-more shopping is done on-line rather than in stores.  

Tulsa Finance Director Mike Kier says it is something he sees first hand when he looks at sales tax revenue figures. Many on-line merchants are not collecting the sales tax and customers are not reporting purchases as a "use tax".

A decade ago, on-line shopping accounted for less than three percent of sales tax. Today, the number is closer to 10%,

TravelOK

 

Authorities say a man and a 12-year-old boy drowned in a lake at Fort Cobb State Park in Oklahoma when the man tried to rescue the boy after he went under water.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the body of 60-year-old Kam Sivilai of Oklahoma City was recovered about 10:30 p.m. Saturday and the body of the boy, whose name wasn't released, was recovered about 12:30 a.m. Sunday from Fort Cobb Lake about 55 miles (88 kilometers) southwest of Oklahoma City.

 

Authorities say an Oklahoma woman and her three daughters, who have been missing for nearly three weeks, have been found safe.

Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks told reporters that 23-year-old Destiny Corsaut of Chickasha and her 2, 3, and 5-year-old daughters were found Sunday.

Details of where and how they were found were not immediately released, but Hicks said Chickasha police were going to the undisclosed location where they were found.

Expressway Blocked By Vehicle-RV Fire

Jul 23, 2017
Google Street View

Traffic is flowing again on the Broken Arrow Expressway near Lynn Lane. A vehicle, pulling an RV, on Saturday over heated. That cause the vehicle, and later the RV, to catch on fire.

The flaming vehicle started rolling into traffic and blocked the entire expressway while Broken Arrow's Fire Department put out the blaze and cleared away the smoldering wreckage.

No reports of injuries, despite the intense heat.

In Defense of Revenue Bills, State Mounts Technicalities Argument

Jul 23, 2017
Wikimedia

Two of the three court challenges seeking to overturn $343 million worth of revenue bills that the Legislature passed during the final days of this year’s session could face a quick demise if the state has its way.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office responded this week to a pair of lawsuits  – one brought by GOP gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson and one by a group of automobile dealers. Lawyers for the state argued the court challenges should be rejected on procedural grounds, among other reasons.

KWGS News File photo

The following cooling stations are open for business until further notice:

The Salvation Army Center of Hope

102 N. Denver Ave.

Tulsa, OK 74103

24/7

Tulsa County Social Services Cooling station

2401 Charles Page Blvd.

Tulsa OK 74127

8:30 am – 8:00 pm

Dennis R. Neill Equality Center

621 East 4th Street

Tulsa, OK 74120

Noon to 9 pm 7-days a week

John 3:16 Mission

506 N. Cheyenne

Tulsa, Okla. 74103

24/7

KWGS News File Photo

The summer heat continues to take a toll on Green County residents.  EMSA responded to 11 heat related calls on Saturday. Several people were transported to the hospital, including at 83 year-old man.

EMSA is urging citizens to make a plan to stay safe. Plan the amount of time you think will be outdoors and take appropriate amounts of water or other fluids with you, even if just planning for a short amount of outdoor time. Emergencies can happen and you could be stranded outdoors longer than expected. Always have a cell with you to call 911, if needed.

File photo

The Oklahoma medical board has suspended a Muskogee doctor after complaints that a number of his patients died from overdoses.

A complaint filed with the Oklahoma Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision says that 14 of Scott Gregory Lilly's patients had died from overdoses. The Oklahoman newspaper reports that Lilly will be banned from prescribing opioids and other potentially dangerous drugs. He also must serve a six-month suspension from practicing medicine.

NWS Graphic

Excessive heat warnings are in effect for parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas as triple-digit temperatures are recorded across the region.

The National Weather Service says heat warnings will remain in effect through Sunday night for northeastern Oklahoma and northeastern Arkansas as hot and humid conditions continue. Heat advisories are in effect elsewhere in the two states.

File photo

An Oklahoma lawmaker is seeking an interim study on how much the state spends to defend its newly passed laws in court.

Democratic Sen. Kay Floyd says she wants taxpayers to know how much it costs when the state is repeatedly brought to court to defend its laws.

The Journal Record reported that for 2017 the state attorney general's office will defend four bills from constitutional challenges.

File photo

A former Oklahoma legislator has served only 10 days in jail after reaching a plea agreement in a felony case accusing him of embezzlement.

Bryan County Jail officials say 52-year-old Terry J. Matlock's jail term was reduced because he was a well-behaved inmate. The Oklahoman reports that Matlock was also sentenced to 10 years of probation.

Heat Keeps Ambulances Rolling in Tulsa

Jul 22, 2017
KWGS News File Photo

EMSA responded to eight different heat related emergency calls on Friday. More are expected over the weekend as the high heat stays with us.

One of the most disturbing calls was at a west Tulsa supermarket. The ambulance service issued the following statement about that call:

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